Procedures and instructions

The best procedure is the one you don’t need. If the UI is crystal clear and leads the customer through a task, a procedure isn’t necessary. Start there.

Some tasks are more complex. When you need to provide a procedure, look for the clearest way to present it. That might be:

  • A picture, an illustration, a poster, or an infographic
    A screenshot of two columns. The left, blue column reads In SharePoint Server 2013 on-premise. The right, red column reads in Office 365.

  • A video.

    Screenshot of a paused video under a description of an article with a header reading Getting started with Internet Explorer 11.

  • A one-sentence instruction.

    Screenshot of an article header reading Call a friend followed by a one-sentence instruction and various examples of the instruction.

  • A numbered procedure, which might include pictures, videos, and links or buttons that take customers where they need to go.

    Screenshot of an article with the Adding your files to OneDrive header followed by four numbered steps, each with an accompanying image.

When a procedure is the best approach, use the guidelines in this section to create consistent instructions that are easy to follow:

Note Document all the ways that customers can interact with your UI to support customers of all abilities. This includes mouse, keyboard, voice recognition, game controller, gesture, and any other input method or device that the product or service supports. The easiest way to approach this is to fully document interactions using each input method, and then write procedures that use input-neutral verbs.